San Diego: Big-hitting American J.B. Holmes has lost swing speed and driving distance but is simply thankful to be back cometing on the PGA Tour this week after undergoing brain surgery last year.
Sidelined since August after being diagnosed with Chiari malformation, structural defects in the part of the brain which controls balance, Holmes says he has gained a deeper appreciation of his good fortune to be a professional golfer.
"It feels like it`s been forever, but I`m just happy to be back," Holmes, a double winner on the U.S. circuit, told reporters on Tuesday while preparing for the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
"I`ve been working pretty hard the last few weeks and I`m ready to get back out here, get back into the competitive tournament and just see how it goes.
"It was a long process last year, but I guess compared to a lot of people that have had that, I caught it fairly quick."
Holmes had been experiencing vertigo-like symptoms since the Players Championship in May and he pulled out of the Barclays Classic in August before having the condition diagnosed followed by surgical treatment in early September.
"It`s scary at first," Holmes, 29, said of how he felt after his diagnosis. "Talking to the surgeon and stuff, he said for a brain surgery, difficulty-wise for him it was only about a one out of 10.
"It`s still brain surgery, but that at least made me feel better. Then I got to the hospital and started putting on the gown and everything else and it was like, `Wow, I`m about to have brain surgery.` So it really hits you then."